Optimising Your Google My Business Listing
As a small business owner, you know how important it is to maximise your marketing channels. After all, the rise of the internet (and search engines like Google) has made it easier than ever to build business brand awareness and connect with your audience.
But as digital marketing became more effective, the competition became fiercer.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re using every tool available to boost your success online. And one of the most powerful devices for a small business owner is their Google My Business listing.
What the Google My Business Listing?
Whether your business runs from a physical address, is purely e-commerce, or delivers goods and services to your customers – having an optimised Google My Business listing is essential. Not only does it provide instant exposure for anyone directly searching your business on Google, but it also connects with Google Maps, one of the most widely-used tools for determining directions (like to your store front!)
The Google My Business listing provides increased exposure in Google search results, and provides key information for your business:
Your Google My Business listing will synchronize up with Google Maps to show directions. This is especially important if you provide goods and services at your business location:
Additional benefits of having an optimised Google My Business listing
Outside of providing your key business information to potential customers searching, there are two main benefits of having an optimised Google My Business listing.
The ability to appear in the local ranking pack
With an established Google My Business listing, you’ll appear in Google’s local ranking pack for key terms related to your small business. The three businesses that best fit the users search terms and current location are chosen (especially if they are using their mobile to search) and handed to them on a platter.
Depending on your market, location and local competition, you may not appear in the main three listings that appear in search results. But your business will still be able to be found if a user decides to view more places:
Being able to receive Google Reviews
One of the best ways to build trust with your customer base is by being Google Reviewed. This does open your business up to negative comments, but the benefits far out way the negatives. We’ll explore this a little more later on.
Signing up for your Google My Business listing
The first step if you haven’t done so already is to sign up to claim your Google My Business listing. Usually, this is a straightforward step, but I will cover a few scenarios to make certain you successful claim your business with Google. If you have already done this step, please refer to the next segment Google My Business listing Do’s and Don’ts on the steps to optimise your listing.
To register your listing, I’d suggest starting this process on a desktop computer. You can complete this process on mobile, but you’ll need to download the Google My Business App from either the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, and it’s certainly not as user-friendly.
Before you start, you’ll need to be logged into a Google account (Gmail accounts by default are Google accounts), then all future management of your listing will be done through this login. If you don’t have a Google account, you can set one up (either by creating a new Gmail email address or by using your current business email, which will then become a Google account).
Once you’re signed into a Google account, you can start the sequence in setting up your very own Google My Business listing by at their website. You’ll be asked to provide your business details, and that’s it!
Google My Business listing Do’s and Don’ts
During the process of setting up your Google My Business listing, there are a few important points to make sure it’s optimised for both search and local pack rankings.
Understanding the Do’s and Don’ts with your Google My Business listing heavily influences local rankings opportunities, so be sure to:
1. Ensure your business information is exactly as it appears on your website
As you enter your small business information, make sure it matches what you have listed on your website word for word. This includes address numbering and street type.
For example if your business is listed as 5/235 Example St, you need to record this same formatting for your Google My Business listing and not Unit 5, 235 Example Street or any other variations.
The same goes for your business name, phone number, and opening hours. If you don’t have a psychical shopfront for customers, it’s still very important to use the correct information and business address from where you operate. You have the ability to hide this address from view, and you can use residential addresses if your small business is based on delivery services or online e-commerce.
Make sure not to supply incorrect information or an address you don’t have access to, as you’ll need to be able to collect postal mail at this address for verification.
2. Don’t forgot to verify your business
It may seem simple – but it’s easy to forget. For a Google My Business listing to show, you will need to verify the business by letting Google send a postcode with a unique code to your business address. This can take up to 10 business days (I have found it usually is around 2 weeks for Australian addresses).
This postcode will have a unique verification code that needs to be entered once you’re logged into your account.
Once you’ve requested the postcard, don’t make any edits to your business name through the account dashboard – or you’ll need to order an entirely new code. You’re better off being on the safe side – and not editing any information related to your business. Once you’re verified, you can make all the changes you want anyway.
3. Add as much value to your Google My Business listing once verified
The following are crucial steps if you want to get the most value from your listing and have the best chance appearing in local pack rankings for when users search key terms related to your business.
* Upload at least 5 business photos as a bare minimum – this should include a combination of interior and exterior pictures of your business. Google also really likes ‘action’ shots – showing your staff in action, or the services being performed.
* Likewise, a single video can do wonders in promoting you to the top 3 local back rankings. A good choice of video is one that introduces your business to potential customers and outlines what makes it special.
* Consider getting a quote for a virtual tour, especially if your business is a café or restaurant. You can find out more details under the ‘Add virtual tour’ button.
* Create posts! These can be added to highlight special events or specials going on currently for your small business. These posts show up under your Google My Business listing in the Google search results and can include an additional picture, or a button for direct call to actions like making a booking, or order online.
Google Reviews and why they matter
Setting up your Google My Business listing will open your small business to Google reviews, allowing those with a Google account to rate your goods and services from 1 to 5. Now a lot of you will be thinking, “Matt I don’t want to have a review system because only unhappy people review and all my satisfied customers won’t!”
Well, you might cop a bit of that. But if used correctly, Google reviews can be a massive boon to your business. Studies have shown that Google reviews are one of the strongest influences among potential customers. Plus, the local ranking pack is heavily influenced by the quality and quantity of reviews. If you want to secure that elusive local pack ranking spot – some good reviews might just be the edge you need.
Through the Google My Business listing dashboard, you have the ability to respond to any review. If someone leaves you negative feedback, simply respond to it professionally (and calmly) and show potential customers you’re a small business owner that values feedback. Offer those with negative feedback a chance to get back in touch to discuss their grievances.
Likewise, don’t forget to respond to positive feedback! These are all strong signal to Google and influences in the local ranking pack positions.
Getting your Google My Business right can greatly help with your local online presence and increase your website traffic. It’s a wonder why some still opt not to do it!